Tech review: Nike FuelBand keeps motivation close at hand

Jun 21, 2012 By Jim Rossman, The Dallas Morning News

I have to admit, I'm overweight. My weight tends to fluctuate depending on my mood and motivation.

So when Nike asked me to review its new FuelBand, I was a little skeptical and a little nervous.

At its core, the $149 FuelBand is a tool to motivate you to move. With three accelerometers, the FuelBand tracks your body as you move throughout the day. You might think this sounds like a , and you would be right, but it's a lot more.

Nike has come up with a new unit of exercise called "Nike fuel." I like to think of Nike fuel like a golf handicap. It's a unit of measure designed to put everyone on an equal plane.

Nike calls its fuel units the "ultimate measure of activity." Nike says its fuel units are calculated the same for everyone no matter your age, gender or sport of choice, so it's easy to compare your with those of your friends, but only if they're using a Nike FuelBand or other Nike+ device.

I have used the Nike+ app on my to track a few walks, and Nike converted those walks into fuel points.

So the FuelBand tracks your movement, but some hard-core athletes will find that's not enough. , for instance, will find the FuelBand doesn't track their time or distance; it only tracks movement.

The FuelBand does calculate burned and steps taken from the readings, and there's also a watch that's limited to telling time. Users can scroll through the FuelBands display with a single button.

I have to say that as a watch, the FuelBand is very cool.

The FuelBand exports its data two ways, through USB to a Mac or PC or through to an iOS device.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

You can use the Nike fuel website or Nike's iOS app to configure the FuelBand and to set daily goals and to track your progress.

My daily goal started at 2,000 fuel units, which I easily reached the first day simply by mowing my lawn. When you reach your daily goal, you'll see a small animation on the FuelBand celebrating your achievement.

I missed my goal on a few days that I spent mostly at work and in front of the computer. But I think the FuelBand will motivate me to get up and do some more moving around.

The band itself is water-resistant. Nike says you can shower with it on but not to take it swimming.

I'm also a little bummed that it doesn't record much movement when I'm riding my recumbent exercise bike. Oh, well; perhaps I'll attach it to my ankle.

The band comes in three sizes - small, medium and large - and each size includes two small expanders that fine-tune the fit, much like links on a watch band.

I find the FuelBand comfortable to wear; it really disappears on your wrist. Nike says the battery will last about four days before you need to charge it through your computer's USB port or through an included USB charger.

So hard-core athletes might find the Nike fuel a little lacking as a workout monitor for some specific sports, but for people like me - nerds who need to start moving - the FuelBand might just be the we need to push our chairs away from our monitors and get going.



-Pros: Elegant design, clear display, comfortable to wear.

-Cons: Can't measure heart rate, elapsed time or distance.

-Bottom line: If you're into workout gadgets, the Nike FuelBand is really well done.

-Price: $149

-On the Web:

Explore further: Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet

2.8 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nike introduces iPod Sport Kit

May 23, 2006

Nike unveiled Tuesday the Air Zoom Moire -- footwear that connects to an iPod Nano through the wireless Nike(plus)iPod Sport Kit.

Review: Nike device improves, but oversimplified

Oct 27, 2011

(AP) -- Since 2003, I've tried several fitness accessories that use the GPS system to tell you how far and how fast you're running. I've generally liked them, except for the fact that they don't work well ...

Nike, Adidas suppliers 'polluting China rivers'

Jul 13, 2011

Environmental campaigners on Wednesday accused suppliers to major clothing brands including Adidas and Nike of poisoning China's major rivers with hazardous chemicals linked to hormonal problems.

Gift Guide: Tech gadgets can boost your workouts

Dec 05, 2009

(AP) -- In simpler times, maintaining good health was a matter of joining a gym or lacing up running shoes for a loop in the park. At most, you'd buy a watch with a digital display so you could time your laps.

Recommended for you

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Apr 17, 2014

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

( —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

( —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.